Origin of dunceafter John Duns Scotus: his followers, called Dunsmen, Dunses, Dunces, were regarded as foes of Renaissance humanism
Origin of dunceAfter John Duns Scotus, whose writings and philosophy were ridiculed in the 16th century.
1530, eponymous, from John Duns Scotus (circa 1265–1308).
Scotus was ironically a well-known Scottish thinker. His followers, however, opposed the philosophers of the Renaissance, and thus "dunce" was first used to describe someone rejecting new knowledge in 1530; later, any stupid person.